by Anne Hunt
Remodelling our children’s movies have become a gradual annoyance to the cinema lover. It seems nothing is sacred from the grabbing, greedy hands of Hollywood. Everything we’ve ever loved is going to get the big screen treatment, even if it has already a film before. Despite this, there are some reboots that have muscled their way into our lives, the most recent the fun-filled action packed new Ghostbusters movie!
No matter how unnecessary we believe these films to be, there are the occasional highlights that make us brim with delight and stories that will stay golden no matter how often they are rejigged for modern purposes.
Can the latest version of The BFG find its own voice away from the book and the 1989 version?
Based on a book by Roald Dahl, The BFG revolves around a world where Giants are child chomping beasts who gobble kids up in the night. Sophie, a bright young girl, has been trying to spy them but comes across something completely new – The Big Friendly Giant whose sole purpose is to give dreams to young’uns. Together, they enter the biggest adventure ever!
Steven Spielberg’s captivating fantasy romp is helmed by brilliant performances. Newcomer Ruby Barnhill as te precocious Sophie showcases a heartfelt and terrific debut that is somewhat lacklustre and grating against the gravitas of Mark Rylance’s essence. It is evident that the Academy Award Winner is throwing his almighty talent into every pore of the BFG and the character is broiling with heart. His kind eyes illuminate the big screen and are wholly powerful. The CGI appearance is jarring at first but soon you let go into the dreamscape of his world.
It’s near on a scene for scene take on Roald Dahl’s book which is wonderful to see come to life. The dreams look spectacular; the sequence where Sophie and The BFG catch brightly coloured dreams around the Dream Tree is just pure, pure magic.
It’s funny, even as an adult. Whizzpopping (or farting if you’re a ‘human bean’) is always going to make you chuckle no matter what age you are, and the scene in the Queen’s breakfast room is a superb example of this. On that note, it’s also great to see the BFG in the normal world – he eats his posh royal breakfast with a sword, garden fork, and trowel. His stature against the city as he flies through the shadows is a breath-taking use of the capitol.
Spielberg is very conscious of the technical difficulties and took great care in keeping eye-lines correct and it shows, you never once think that the BFG aren’t interacting with other characters directly. All the sets were built practically, and you can tell the intense and passionate artistry that the classic director has implemented here. The phenomenal attention to detail was phenomenal such as corgi’s embroidered on the Queen’s dressing gown. For fans of Roald Dahl, look out for moments: Quentin Blake’s famous illustrations make an appearance. Steven adds in nods to his other epics – a wispy dinosaur can be seen in one of the dream jars.
There are lovely and complex themes about the power of reading as well as overcoming bullies. It’s important life lessons that were constantly imbued in Dahl’s storytelling and it’s vital that they were conveyed so excellently here. It may not be a perfect film but it is splendiferous none the less. You’ll feel absolutely spiffing, coming out as though you were hugged by a big fluffy rainbow. With John William’s gloriumptious score, you’ll feel the goosebumps that classic Spileberg movies would inspired.
A great family fantasy flick!
The BFG is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!